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One of the big things to consider when going on a cruise is what to pack. We’ve been to Disney World three times and seem to have the packing list down to a T for our current family situation. But a cruise is a completely different vacation with its own unique packing needs. From formal night to pirate night to adult-dining and possible sea sickness, there are more possiblities to consider than if you were just spending a week at Disney World. Here are some of my must-have items for a Disney cruise.
Of course the hope is that no one in your party will be affected by seasickness while on your cruise. And chances are there won’t be a problem. The ship is so large that most of the time you won’t even notice the movement. But sometimes, on days with rough weather, the water is more choppy, resulting in more noticeable movement. This might cause some uncomfortable feelings. We packed two pairs of adult sea bands (pictured above) and one child-sized sea band just in case. Thankfully, D and I only needed them for the first night and then we were fine. Neither of the kids ever had a problem with seasickness.
Sunscreen is very important, especially if you’re cruising around the Caribbean. I recommend the Babyganics mineral base sunscreen for the kids. We’ve been using this brand since Ladybug was a baby and it has worked well for us. Make sure you pack more than you think you’ll need. You will need a lot to protect yourself and your kids from the brutal Caribbean sun.
Wipes are a given for those families with young children. But even if you don’t have a child in diapers, I highly recommend bringing plenty of wipes with you since napkins can be a bit hard to find outside the main dining rooms and Cabanas. You’ll need something to clean your hands after you eat or to mop up table spills and sticky faces after eating all those free ice cream cones.
We went to so many character meet and greets while on the ship and at Castaway Cay. Ladybug even met some of the characters twice. In our experience, the lines were much shorter than they were at Disney World and there were so many opportunities to get an autograph or a photo with each of the characters. Make sure to bring something for the characters to sign. I made a thick autograph book for Ladybug before our Disney World trip last year that we use for all of our meet and greets. I also saw people with pillow cases, picture frames, and even canvas beach bags that the characters signed.
Although the weather is usually warm in the Caribbean during the day, I recommend bringing at least one light jacket or sweater for the evenings. It can get a little breezy if you’re out on deck once the sun goes down. Also, the dining rooms are sometimes on the chilly side so it would be beneficial to have some long sleeves to keep you warm and make your dining experience more enjoyable.
Of course, you can’t go on a Disney cruise without a camera. With all the character meet and greets, port stays and unforgettable moments, you need some form of camera to capture all the magical moments of your cruise. I also recommend bringing a waterproof camera, if you have one. I wish I had one after almost dropping my phone in the ocean at Castaway Cay. Next time we go, we will definitely invest in a waterproof camera. I’m considering this GoPro camera.
All purchases on the ship, including tips for your servers and stateroom hosts, are made with your Key to the World Card. The shops onboard do not take cash so there is no need to bring a lot of bills with you unless you’re planning on using cash while in port (excluding Castaway Cay). However, if you’re planning on ordering room service at anytime during your cruise- and why wouldn’t you when much of the menu is free– I recommend bringing some one dollar bills to tip room service cast members. Tips for room service are not included in the standard gratuity added to your bill at the end of your cruise so be courteous and tip when they come to your door. Of course the amount you tip is entirely up to your discretion, though the recommended amount is $1-2 per item on the order.
For cruises seven nights or longer, there is a formal night onboard. One night where guests are encouraged to dress in their fanciest dresses or suits/tuxes for dinner. Outfits for women range from cocktail dresses all the way up to something you would see at prom, or another formal dance. Although we were only on a four night, our cruise had an optional formal night where we could dress up if we wanted. I wish I had known about it before we embarked because we didn’t bring any formal wear for the kids. Even on shorter cruises, if you choose to dine at Palo or Remy there is a dress code to keep in mind so make sure to pack appropriate formal attire for that.
What to leave at home
When creating your packing list, keep in mind two things you can leave at home when cruising with Disney. When I travel, I rarely pack shampoo and conditioner unless I know I’m going somewhere that won’t provide it. I’m usually okay sacrificing my normal stuff for a few days. However, I didn’t sacrifice anything by using the shampoo and conditioner provided by Disney. I actually like it much better than my normal brand. So if you are trying to save some space in your luggage for souvenirs, leave the shampoo and conditioner at home. You can get as much as you need and even more to take home if you ask your stateroom host for it.
What would you bring on your Disney Cruise?
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